Arif Nizami in his latest article "Pressurising Pakistan" (17 Sept) has analysed the relations between US and Pakistan that went off the track due to raid in Abbottabad without taking into confidence Pakistan, and its likely impact to follow in near future. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta continues blaming Pakistan having links with the Haqqani Network (HQN).
The group is accused of launching attacks on the US and coalition troops in Afghanistan. It’s easy for the US to accuse Pakistani government for supporting HQN but surely it must share some evidence of such support to sound more credible. We already have our hands full by fighting this war on terror. The latest example is the suicide attack at Lower Dir during funeral prayers. It is true that the US in spite of our denial having no links with HQN continues harping on the same old tune.
Under public pressure, Pakistan is left with no option but to retaliate against deliberate violation of her sovereignty. The methodology and extent of retaliation is a matter of command decision. The strategic cost of such clandestine actions by the US would far outweigh the tactical gains and fall out of relations with Pakistan. The writer has correctly pointed out that Gen Kayani while in NATO meting will have hard time, but it is heartening to note that the COAS has made clear that Pakistan is independent in taking decisions.
It is true that the US is not willing to accept our apprehensions of threat from the eastern border. We have suffered a great deal in the past on the assurances given by the super power but when the time came, they backed out. Pakistan has legitimate interests in Afghanistan, keeping Pakistan out of the loop will result in do it yourself arrangements in Afghanistan. The situation demands mutual trust and confidence among the stakeholders including the US, the Afghan government, Taliban and Pakistan. Any other strategy adopted by the US is bound to fail and desired results shall be a distant dream. The fact of the matter is we need the US and the US needs us. The US must avoid Indian role in Afghanistan as in the longer run it will backfire.
Pakistan has suffered heavily in the hands of terrorists. Unfortunately, Pakistan's efforts to fight the menace of terrorism have not been fully acknowledged by the US. US policymakers must understand that coercive policies and negative propaganda can create cracks in cooperation framework. The cooperation must be based on mutual trust and confidence.